reviewed by Anna Alger
Haunting melodies, lockstep beats, and a bed of synths define the sound of Fake Tears, the new project of Vancouver’s Larissa Loyva and Elisha Rembold. The duo are reviving synth pop, adding a modern edge to it on their debut album, Nightshifting.
Multilayered synths draw listeners into the first track, “You Want the Light.” Loyva and Rembold harmonize hauntingly over the shifting instrumentals, sometimes veering into a major key before becoming more ominous. “Hearts Break Loud” has the eerie feeling of a Warpaint song, minor synth arpeggios stepping over stark beats. “Something tells me I’m not afraid, I feel like hearts break loud,” the duo sing as darkness hovers. “Second Wind” picks up the pace with a more upbeat melody, the vocals still suggesting angst as Loyva and Rembold ask, “Do you want me? Do you care?” over and over again. “14 Storeys” is a melancholic look at growth throughout life and the point of it all over somber synths and minimal bass, leading into the propulsive rhythm of “Night Box.”
“Rite of the First Night” is distinctly 80’s sounding, a basic, infectious beat and soaring synths leading the song forward. Loyva and Rembold harmonize sweetly over the full bassline. Contemplative guitar closes the song, which abruptly leads into into the spoken word intro of “Uncanny Valley,” characterized by playful synths combined with a driving beat.
Nightshifting lacks some range and diversity musically, but Fake Tears still excel at their strengths: strong vocals and versatile use of synths. Their songs are poppy with an undercurrent of darkness, always an intriguing juxtaposition that causes listeners to really question and read into what they’re listening to.
Nightshifting is available via Fake Tears’ Bandcamp page.
Top Track: “Rite of the First Night”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)